Today the Maya Land Rights case was before the Caribbean Court of Justice. The last hearing was in October last year when the court had asked the government submit a work plan for the implementation of the Consent Order of April 2015. At that time, the Maya claimants reported that very little had been done by the government to honor the court ruling. At the end of that hearing, the government appointed a Maya land rights commission committed to preparing a draft of a working plan to implement the court ruling which should have been ready on today’s date. At today’s hearing, however, these were not ready. Program Coordinator for the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association, Pablo Mis told us more about today’s proceedings.
Pablo Mis – Program Coordinator, TAA/MLA
“The Government of Belize not only did it fail to submit a work plan to the court it also failed to properly consult with the Maya people in the development of the draft work plan. The court expressed its frustration that this pattern of not complying with the schedules, with the time tables set out by the court. The president of the court pointed out in that in cases where time tables are not abided by then the court cannot adequately execute it’s duty to help the matter. So we have a new date for the submission of a work plan that will be on March 9th; on March 15th the parties will again appear before the CCJ to report on the plan, the court has also asked that the Government of Belize again meet with the Maya people to consult with the work plan. Beyond that the court, particularly Justice Wit pointed out that three years later there is absolutely nothing that has happened. He also stated that it is time that we get hands on and get the orders implemented. The court has appointed Justice Wit to lead the parties in the development of a conflict resolution mechanism, Justice Wit pointed out that it must be understood that the resolution ought to address order number four which is the undertaking that the Government accepted to cease and desist from issuing any concessions or any infringement that might affect the use and enjoyment of the land. Justice Wit has asked the court to appear before him on camera this week on Thursday and the idea is that Justice Wit will begin the discussion on how he sees the process moving forward because clearly the Maya people have been reporting ongoing infringements and the Maya people have also been writing letters to the government in which, in his words, are seldom responded to.”
The next hearing is scheduled for March 15.